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Friday, January 7, 2011

Moole Valley, Lanihuli, Kekoalele Loop

Hike date:  March 2001 by fourteen members of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club 

Logistics: Vehicle shuttle from Puiwa Road in lower Nuuanu to the starting point by the hunter check-in at the top of Nuuanu Pali Drive. Hiking commenced at just about 8am sharp. Encountered a bowhunter from Waianae enroute.

Final approach to Lanihuli -- Photo by Waianae Steve

Hike coordinator (Turner) reminded hikers about one-at-a-time-on-a-cable protocol and carefulness when climbing one after another, especially in areas with loose rock. In 15 minutes, the group had reached the tunnel, where most stopped to dig out flashlights from their packs The group sloshed its way through the tunnel and folks commented how interesting it was to have something different like this as part of the hike.

In about five minutes, everyone was through the rocky portal. Hikers then proceeded up Hillebrand Glen (aka Mo'ole Valley) (here is an interesting old story about hiking to Lanihuli via Hillebrand Glen). The group moved cautiously but steadily up the valley, hiking in the stream at times and contouring high above it to avoid large waterfalls at others. At one fairly large falls, where there is a long rope on the right, half a dozen of the group found a way on the left to get past the falls.

Without incident, everyone reached the junction which marked the place to leave the valley and then began the climb up to Alewa Ridge. The wind was blowing with decent strength today and not once did it rain. High clouds blocked out the impact of the sun, making for pleasant hiking conditions.

After the 15-minute climb to Alewa Ridge, hikers turned right to climb to Pu'u Lanihuli, at 2,700 feet one of the higher peaks in the eastern Koolaus. The trail to it was muddy, and the ascent to and the descent from Lanihuli left no doubt about the presence of hikers on this day. The group spent about half an hour at the summit, with clear views to windward (Kaneohe & Kaneohe Bay) and leeward (Nuuanu extending makai to downtown Honolulu). While sitting down to rest, radio contact with HTMC Waimanalo (clubhouse day) was attempted, but no response was heard.

A bit past 10:30, the group, seemingly a bit angsted and roaring to go, had saddled up and began the descent of Alewa Ridge to its eventual junction with Kekoalele Ridge at Napu'umaia. This segment of the hike went smoothly and quickly.

A few minutes past noon, hikers had reached the junction with Kekoalele Ridge and were heading down it. Rich Jacobsen (Kalalau Rich) and Ed Gilman, who'd hiked the route a few days prior, were out in front guiding the bulk of the group on the descent. Some hikers opted to stop and eat lunch along Kekoalele Ridge

The lead hikers were out at Country Club Road by 1 p.m. The final hiker arrived at the park on Puiwa Road at 1:30.

Overall, a successful hike it was. Most were surprised by how soon the hike was completed.


For an excellent post on hiking to Lanihuli, with some additional historical info about hiking this area, see Nathan Yuen's excellent rendering.

Nicely done video of hiking to Lanihuli:

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